Departments — 12 February 2016
How do I love thee? Let me confirm the ways

A new online dating services checks out your match – even before you do

By Emily J. Minor

City & Shore Magazine

Here’s the thing about online dating:  You just never know.

The profile picture might look good, and the career might sound interesting.

But is he really a 44-year-old environmental engineer with the bod of a 20-year-old?

And is she really that freaking adorable?

Truth is, people fib.

“When my sister was going through a divorce and started online dating, all her friends kept coming to me and saying, ‘You really need to check these guys out,’” says Todd Moss, a Broward County private investigator with a new dating upstart called ValiDATE, which does background checks on everyone who posts an online profile. “I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I was finding out.”

As it turns out, most people stretch the truth when they’re looking for love. A 2014 study by the global research company, OpinionMatters, found that 53 percent of those surveyed admitted to lying on an online profile.

The biggest whoppers?

Money, height, weight, job, age. And that holds true for both men and women, according to the study, although in slightly different orders.

When Moss went snooping around for his sister, he discovered wrong ages, wrong professional backgrounds, wrong hobbies, wrong pastimes. “People were even using fake pictures,” says ValiDATE co-founder, businessman Bob Birdsong.

So Moss and Birdsong – who knew each other from working out at the same gym – came up with a simple solution:

Start an online dating service that requires everyone go through an extensive background check, and don’t let anyone put anything on their profile that’s not true.

If you’re lying about your age, they’ll bust you.

Through publicly recorded documents – everything from criminal records, to property records, to driver license stats and civil court proceedings – the men require that all their clients are vetted by them at least once every six months. They don’t run a credit check.

“We only require every six months, but we really recommend that people are re-evaluated every three months,” Moss says.

So far, Moss and Birdsong are up and running in three counties – Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade – and hope to expand this year into six major markets. A one-year subscription is $149.

“We get a lot of emails from people thanking us,” says Birdsong, who actually had an online nightmare of his own. (The relationship ended in a restraining order).

“With us, everyone gets checked out really, really well so everyone has peace of mind.”

And a real picture of the real deal.

For information, visit For now, the first three months are free.



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